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Invasion of the Foo Fighers

Foo Fighters are a band, damn it. And don't mention the "n" word

October 5, 1995 12:00 AM ET

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True story. Dave Grohl walks into a coffee shop, and the kid behind the counter pushing caffeine says, "Hey, you're Dave Grohl from Nirvana, aren't you?" Grohl answers yes and then, based on his recent experience, waits for things to get worse. Which they do. "You know," the youth continues, "I was really pissed off when that asshole blew his head off." The kid pauses as if confiding to a friend. "I don't mean to be so frank."

That's it, end of tale — another reminder that since the suicide of Kurt Cobain, virtually every mouth in the free world has spouted off about the loss. It seems, in fact, that the only voices that haven't been heard in the last year and a half are those belonging to Grohl and former Nirvana band mate Krist Novoselic.

"I didn't jump over the counter and beat him to a pulp, which is half of what I would have liked to do," says Grohl, reflecting on the encounter from the safety of the touring van that houses his new band, Foo Fighters. "You have to let it bounce off you and figure that it's just some guy you'll never talk to again. Not that many people understand what I'm going through, and I don't expect them to. I don't expect people to be nice or understanding or compassionate because it happens so rarely.

"I think about Kurt every day, and I miss him," Grohl adds quietly, measuring his words carefully. "And I realize that I miss him. But at the same time things keep going, and I've got to make sure that things keep moving for me. I don't know if this band makes anyone else feel better — I just know I have to do it for myself. I have to feel like I'm moving forward."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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